Nutrient cocktail helps improve brain function in those with early-stage Alzheimer's

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Researchers at MIT are encouraging seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease to take their vitamins—but not just any vitamins.

During clinical trials, a three-nutrient cocktail of B vitamins, phosopholipids and antioxidants was found to promote the growth of certain brain synapse connections that typically erode during the early stages of Alzheimer's, according to the MIT report. The three nutrients—which are all present in breast milk—help develop the fatty molecules that form brain cells and synapses, according to the researchers. The trials comprised 225 patients with mild Alzheimer's disease.

Over the course of 12 weeks, patients drank either the nutrient mixture or a control beverage. Roughly 40% of the patients receiving nutrients showed improvement on memory and cognitive tests compared with 24% of the control patients who improved. Encouraged by the results, researchers are conducting three more similar trials in Europe and America. Results from those are expected between 2011 and 2013. The results of this study appear in the latest edition of the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia.